Westinghouse to cut 665 jobs worldwide
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Westinghouse Electric Co. confirmed Wednesday it plans to eliminate about 665 jobs from its payroll, a reduction of about 5 percent of its global workforce as the Cranberry-based energy company continues to face slackened international demand for nuclear energy.
The layoffs are not aimed at any particular department or region, but will include positions at the Cranberry headquarters, company spokesman Vaughn Gilbert said. The company employs about 6,000 workers in Western Pennsylvania.
The eliminated positions will include jobs that are open but haven't been filled. No timetable was given for when the layoffs would occur.
It is the second round of layoffs in less than a year at Westinghouse. Last May, the company eliminated about 200 jobs in its "infrastructure" units of law, finance and human relations.
The nuclear industry has faced severe headwinds since the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, where General Electric reactors failed after a devastating tsunami.
The disaster triggered a global slowdown in nuclear development, with countries calling for bans or moratoriums on the energy source.
"A number of the new plants that we thought would be under construction have been pushed back," said Mr. Gilbert.
That's a sharp contrast to the years leading up to the Fukushima meltdown, when economic forecasts showed a healthy global appetite for nuclear power. In the past five years, Westinghouse hired 5,000 new workers in anticipation of that demand.
Mr. Gilbert said a global recession has also been a factor in slowing business, as countries with decreased development see less need for new electricity.
Westinghouse was purchased by the Toshiba Corp. in 2006. Toshiba has been shopping a 36 percent stake in the company to potential buyers, a move that would let it retain an ownership of at least 51 percent.
Mr. Gilbert said Toshiba's potential sell-off had no bearing on the layoff announcement.
First Published February 14, 2013 12:07 am